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Title:Managing historic mountain landscapes near a modern city: the case of the Beijing Western Hills, 1912-2012
Author(s):Li, Zheng
Director of Research:Ruggles, Dede F
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Ruggles, Dede F
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Deming, Margaret E.; Hays, David L.; Olshansky, Robert B.; Riley, Robert B
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:During the period of 1912-2012, the Beijing Western Hills is of profound importance because at this scenic site occurred the first synthesis of the major landscape management instruments that now form Chinese public policy. From this synthesis emerged the Chinese city's modern relationship to its adjacent hillside areas in particular and China's new relationship with the natural world in general, both of which evolved over a time period of both global and national changes in technology and political philosophy. Relying on textual analysis and extensive fieldwork, the dissertation characterizes five dimensions of landscape management problems at the Western Hills in relation to the modern development of urban Beijing. These are 1) architectural and landscape design; 2) city planning; 3) hydraulic engineering; 4) forestry; and 5) cultural heritage management. These disciplinary efforts emerged as procedures and methods for solving common problems posed by the new relationship between the city and its adjacent rugged terrains, reshaping the physical landscape and leading to the institutionalization of landscape management and the professionalization of a new class of experts as seen today. While the disciplinary solutions did solve many old problems, some of them have caused new ones. The study also reveals that the Beijing Western Hills is not just a singular case, but rather it is where Chinese official ideas about landscape planning, design, and management were developed, and thus it is a crucible for evolving interpretations of the Chinese landscape and methods for managing it. All these are analyzed within a theoretical framework of modernity in order to identify potential policy and design approaches for the present.
Issue Date:2015-03-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Zheng Li
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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